E-mail letters, May 5, 2011

Name change necessary
if Mesa State is to compete

As a former student of Mesa State College, a business operator in the Grand Junction community, and current member of the business school adjunct faculty, I am able to provide an internal and external perception to the proposed name change.

I began teaching night classes in the late ’90s, and I have marveled in how the campus has shifted from a quiet, obscure nighttime campus, where few students were seen, to an active, vibrant city within a city. Now the majority of classrooms at night are active with learning and/or campus-wide social activities. The new facilities/programs are abuzz with student participation. All citizens of Grand Junction should visit and tour the campus at night.

The financial writing is on the wall. As state budgets ratchet downward, MSC is faced with taking the next step to compete with hundreds of other accredited higher education institutions in Colorado and a much higher amount throughout the Southwest and mountain sections of the United States. As any organization needs a name that helps to inform consumers of its products and/or services, our college needs a name that validates the new look and feel of the campus. 

As a former hotel operator and member of the Visitor & Convention Bureau board, I am personally aware of the financial impact this college has on our local economy. Previous supporters of the name change have provided an excellent overview of this financial impact. Our economy will not survive on perpetual internal redistributions of statewide student dollars (88 percent of enrollment). We have to be vigilant in seeking external dollars for the Mesa County economy. 

Above the financial argument lies the most significant reason for change: to align with the scores of excellent community members and employees who have attended or are attending this reputable school. Whether we work in the public or private sectors of Grand Junction, all of us benefit from the success of these students.

The call goes out to each and every citizen of the Mesa County community. Avoid the pitfalls of stumbling into the conversation with a limited point of view, look at the bigger picture. As we begin to look beyond the data points and view the local impacts of students and faculty from yesterday and today, we are all the more enriched
Dan Sharp
Grand Junction

King’s position an obstacle
to needed immigration reform

I read with bewilderment Sen. Steve King’s defense against what he sees as an attack on his character by Bill Grant regarding his stand and statements on immigration. I note with irony that he defends himself against a charge of racism, which he sees as an ad hominem attack, by accusing Grant of being a “liberal.” Of course those darned liberals lack the “intellectual ammunition” to make a “cohesive, reasoned argument.” Presumably, he sees the kittens-to-milk analysis as insightful analogy.

In fact, human beings who are creative and entrepreneurial, work hard, pay taxes, obey the laws, and take care of their families provide net benefits to our country and communities. This was as true of my immigrant ancestors as it is today, and it describes the vast majority of immigrants, whether legal or not. Their presence is to be encouraged, and their status should be regularized.
It is also true that illegal Mara Salvatruka drug mules impose huge net costs on American society, and it is in our interest too keep them out. Unfortunately, the way the debate is framed by people such as Sen. King prevents us from doing these two things by way of adopting a comprehensive immigration reform package. This “indefensible liberal position” has, in fact, been embraced by such left-wing nut types as the Utah Legislature, President George Bush, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and in his more mavericky days, Sen. John McCain.

I am ashamed to admit that I often see my fellow sons and daughters of immigrants shower daggered looks and muffled comments on immigrants they encounter, often in family groups, who seem to be doing nothing more than having a marvelous time being together and laughing, but in another
language. This may not be racism, but it is prejudice, and public figures ought not pander to it.
Rex Duncan
Grand Junction


King’s attitude could
be described as racism

Sen. Steve King’s May 5 letter attacking columnist Bill Grant reminds me of the famous Shakespeare quote: “Me thinks he doth protest too much.”

In his vitriolic letter, King accuses Grant of portraying him “as some type of racist for my views concerning illegal immigration.“After a careful rereading of Grant’s April 19 column, I can find no
statement, direct or implied, which supports King’s claim.

However, what’s very interesting is the transcript of a portion of the recorded interview Sen. King gave to Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby on the subject of illegal immigration, which was printed (to the Sentinel’s credit) in tandem with the attack letter on Grant.

While discussing a recently passed Utah law regarding possible amnesty for illegal immigrants, Ashby made the following analogy: “It’s like feeding the lost kitten milk and expecting it to go away.”

King swallowed the bait and replied: “And then wondering why more lost kittens show up because they smell the milk, too.”

To any reasonably intelligent person, King’s statement is a clear indication that he feels certain classifications of persons are not equal to others. In polite society, such an attitude is called “racism.”
E. Michael Ervin
Grand Junction


Labor Department phone
system will try one’s patience

“Waiting for Godot” has nothing on Colorado Department of Labor and Employment!

Since I am unfortunately out of a job at the moment, and since I had to register for unemployment and unintentionally screwed it up, I had to call the department. (Note here: read the fine print folks –every word!). You have to call every two weeks, even if, as I did, you take severance pay. Okay, I
didn’t know that and this whole mess is my fault. All right?

I placed the call at 2:30-ish on May 2. No one available. I called approximately 30 times that day until the office closed at 4:30. Tuesday, I got up and began at 7:30 (when it opens). Lots of people had the same idea. I stayed home and called, and called, and called — but no luck. Wednesday I began to wonder if a person could get a cauliflower ear from a phone.

Success! I finally, after a gajillion attempts, got through. I was told by the nice phone-voice man that the wait could be up to 120 minutes. So I held, and held and, at 1 hour, 22 minutes, I was disconnected! My cats ran and I still can’t find them.

It’s Thursday and you probably know my game by now. I’ve gotten through again and am on hold. So far it’s been 45 minutes 48 seconds and counting. Pray for me, please. I don’t have a lot of patience left!
Nancy Ericksen
Grand Junction


Results of Battlement Mesa
assessment can’t be suppressed

The Garfield County commissioners have decided to cut off their support for the health impact assessment undertaken by the Colorado School of Public Health. This action was taken after the expenditure over the past year of $250,000. Numerous professional researchers, gas-industry
representatives and community citizens were involved in this study.

These three commissioners are charged with protecting the health, safety and public welfare of citizens in Garfield County. Yet they have cut off support of a study that has been undertaken to assess the health, safety and public welfare consequences of gas-industry practices in a populated
community.

This is a disgraceful, clumsy attempt by three industry-friendly commissioners to suppress scientific evidence. Yet the findings are there in the near-final report. These findings cannot be easily suppressed. The executive summary reads:

“The principal findings of the HIA are that health of Battlement Mesa residents will most likely be affected by chemical exposures, accidents/emergencies resulting from industry operations, and stress-related community changes. To address these potential health impacts, we provide
more than 70 specific recommendations.”

Note that these recommendations are aimed at ensuring citizen welfare. Will these recommendations be honored by these commissioners?

You may read the extensive well documented near final report on-line:
http://www.garfield-county.com/public-health/battlement-mesa-health-impact-assessment-draft2.aspx

Robert Warehime
Battlement Mesa

 


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